The Richmond City Schools have recently announced a number of initiatives that clearly make sense…lease purchasing buses, creating a communications tool that lets patrons know the status of their questions, and addressing middle and high school attendance zones. The confluence of a strong board, experienced superintendent, and competent business staff may offer the perfect recipe for the city.
As a superintendent, changing attendance boundaries was like having a root canal with no Novocain. In proposing changes for Henrico high schools I remember opening a public hearing with more than 1000 people by saying, “Now remember what effigy means…you symbolically hang the bald-headed rascal…you don't literally hang him.” The laughter was brief before returning to a tense anticipatory silence.
Perhaps some lessons learned under fire: take the heat and offer the most balanced and equitable proposal that you can, let people talk, respond to good ideas, realize that you can't fight emotion with logic, and make the decision that is right for everyone rather than someone. Oh, remember that young people are far more adaptable than adults…and forgiving!